Anna Karenina: A Conservative Morality Tale

The new movie version of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina might be a bit stagy for some tastes, but any movie that--a) stars Keira Knightley and b) advances Leo Tolstoy's worldview--is surely worth watching.  I will leave the story itself to the moviegoer, but in the novel of the same name Tolstoy describes liberalism in terms that are entirely recognizable 140 years later.  In the following passages he speaks to the character of Anna's philandering, self-important brother, Stepan Arkadyevitch, a landau liberal because it suited his life style.  Indeed, writes Tolstoy wryly, liberalism had become something of a habit for him, like smoking his cigar, "for the slight fog it diffused in
 his brain."  The 
liberal party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and
 certainly Stepan Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly 
short of money. The liberal party said that marriage is an 
institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction;
 and...(Read Full Post)